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Iyonix courts SCSI migration

By Chris Williams. Published: 3rd May 2003, 17:01:12 | Permalink | Printable

Wanted: Third party developers

Castle Technology have kicked started the pre-show news frenzy early this year by initiating the migration of existing SCSI interfaces to their XScale Iyonix platform. Like commuters ducking out of the office early to avoid the early evening traffic rush, Castle's Iyonix PR brigade have been feverishly churning out announcements this week prior to the Wakefield show - flood gates on high alert for the end-of-week-mad-news-dash and we all know R-Comp like to have the last word on csa.announce. Perhaps it's all merely a bid to dominate the headlines and make us out to be completely and utterly biased in favour of the hardware developer. And no pizza in sight either.

Having thrice read the emailed Castle bulletin (where every sentence is puncuated with 'SCSI') and consulting the terribly formal iconbar.com article on the issue, we realised exactly what Castle are up to and that is they've produced a SCSI filing system for Iyonix computers in order to ease the pain for third party developers when it comes to engineering drivers for the various SCSI interface cards available.

Existing SCSI podule cards can be fitted to Iyonixes via a backplane but they'll need their drivers updating, new 32 bit drivers when they're developed can be softloaded during Boot. Alternatively, again once suitable drivers have been written, SCSI PCI cards can be slotted into a free PCI slot in the Iyonix. PCI is a hell of a lot faster than the legacy Acorn podule system so here's looking forward to someone supporting an off the shelf SCSI PCI card.

"This addition of SCSI to RISC OS makes development of drivers for SCSI interfaces and other SCSI devices much easier", explains a Castle spokesman. "This ensures that IYONIX pc users can now benefit from being able to use high speed SCSI devices on their IYONIX pc systems."

Fetch boy!
To further court third party developers, Castle are releasing the necessary software interface (API) to their SCSI filing system via their website although it's not available just yet.

"Wait! I want to develop a SCSI driver too!" you cry. No fear, they'll also be releasing example driver code and the updated 32 bit drivers to the Acorn SCSI and Castle SCSI podule cards. So if a third party driver drought hits their SCSI subsystem as well as USB, you can always resort to using an existing podule card. Castle claim however that Iyonix compatible drivers for SCSI devices ranging from scanners to hard discs to CD-ROM drives have been produced or in the process of being produced.


Castle Techology

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At this rate I wonder whether Castle will be able to say anything new at the Wakefield show.

 is a RISC OS UserSnig on 3/5/03 5:06PM
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Hmm. That sounds a little bit pesimistic, and critical. It was not meant to be so. :D

Ah, that should cover my back.

 is a RISC OS UserSnig on 3/5/03 5:14PM
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With the existing IDE interface giving 45MB/sec, you'd need to be using your Iyonix for some pretty serious work to need SCSI, but at least it's giving Iyonix users something to put in one of their PCI slots.

 is a RISC OS Userthegman on 3/5/03 5:47PM
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--Time to bring out my MO drive out of the cupboard (its useless on a Mico)

 is a RISC OS Userjlavallin on 3/5/03 5:50PM
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thegman: I thought of that, but there are more SCSI devices than just hard drives. I have a SCSI scanner that's doing nothing that I'd love to use. -- Simon Wilson, Boulder, Colorado

 is a RISC OS Userksattic on 3/5/03 7:24PM
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Does anyone still actually use Magneto-optical drives? I stopped using my 120M drive at least 3 years ago 8-) -- Ian Hawkins (g0tai)

 is a RISC OS Userpiemmm on 3/5/03 8:26PM
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Yes. I'm using one now (Minidisc player). ;o) -- Simon Wilson, Boulder, Colorado

 is a RISC OS Userksattic on 3/5/03 9:07PM
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ksattic: I know, we use Sony tape drives at work, but SCSI scanners seem to be the pro ones, most have USB which may well work on an Iyonix, and I would have thought the market for pro devices is pretty limited under RISC OS.

 is a RISC OS Userthegman on 3/5/03 10:49PM
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My SCSI scanner was bought way before USB was available. It weighs a ton, which is a sure sign of quality! :o) -- Simon Wilson, Boulder, Colorado

 is a RISC OS Userksattic on 3/5/03 11:03PM
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People do use MO drives all the time. Pwerhaps not in the desktop computer world but have a look at any ultrasound machine or other medical equipment. It is a "standard". All the manufacturers have demo machines with about 6-7 different drives in case a consultant prefers one.

the main standard is CDRW and MO for large datasets. Normally my imager files are 300Mb-600Mb and I normally use CDRW or DVD; however I was being demo'd a piece of software then other day and turned up with one tiff since the image was a flatfiel and only 800K. The salesman looked at me and laughed saying "oooooo a floopy, that is SO OLD hat" I replied I wasn't wasteing time burning a CD for a 800K file. I therfore could nopt assess the software properly. His loss, and considering the software was 13,000 pounds, you'd think they would cover all eventualities. THe morral is. MANY firms use MO for convenience.

cheers bob hartley

 is a RISC OS Usernijinsky on 4/5/03 5:51PM
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Will this provide any benefits for current users of Castle SCSI kit?

-- Jess

 is a RISC OS Userjess on 4/5/03 8:17PM
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SCSI - at last!

lets hope someone can do a ultra160 job at least :)

As is known IDE is pants (ever thought why there was only 2 on the RISC PC?)

not that we need massive access times... ;-)

now there's a nice 64bit PCI adaptec card mit RAID that needs drivers...

 is a RISC OS Userepistaxsis_RISC OS on 4/5/03 8:26PM
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IDE was pants but it's just improved a lot on the Iyonix with it's ATA100 interface. Performance is now limited by the speed of the Hard drive. Which leads me to ask why to IDE hard drives only spin at 7200rpm while SCSI drives spin at upto 15000rpm? Cheers!

 is a RISC OS UserThe Doctor on 4/5/03 10:17PM
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They don't. WD's latest sATA offering beats the SCSI competition for performance. Wot no sATA in Iyonix? Pah!

 is a RISC OS Userimj on 5/5/03 1:18AM
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Promise technology make a nice PCI IDE RAID card - I have 8 machines running them (not RISC OS). Quite nice if you want low cost fault tollerant IDE disks with good performance. -- Cheers Steve

 is a RISC OS Userknutson on 5/5/03 1:24AM
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So, if/when I do buy an Iyonix, should I buy a new scanner or a PCI SCSI card and keep my Epson GT5500?


 is a RISC OS UserMartyn Fox on 5/5/03 12:07PM
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In reply to the doctor, in part the reason for the marked difference in rotational speed (and some other features) is precisely so as to allow a differential on performance (and price).

Very often the drives in a mechanical sense are *very* similar - so (in principle a 10000-15000 rpm IDE drive should be possible). In the old days (when I was young and had somewhat more hair) SCSI drives were guaranteed to be free of defects - whereas IDE drives only guaranteed the first cylinder (the integrated controller IDE then avoided the errors using data hidden in the "engineering" track also recorded on the disk). This meant fewer IDE platters were rejected (so they could be manufactured at lower cost than there SCSI siblings).

You can also add many more SCSI devices (including drives) compared to standard IDE (IDE being 4 and SCSI either 7 or 15). SerialATA will reduce this advantage somewhat - though initially won't be able to match SCSI Ultra160 for performance (SerialATA-2 though should prove better).


-- Annraoi McShane,

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 5/5/03 1:28PM
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now about these drivers... ;-)

 is a RISC OS Userepistaxsis_RISC OS on 5/5/03 7:03PM
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